Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Gratitude: How #Edtechteam Summits & #BreakoutEDU Changed My Life!

As we prepare for the #edtechteam summit this weekend, I've found myself reflecting on the path that has brought me to my position as an ed tech specialist. In many ways, my journey started two years ago with a summit that I didn't attend.

Wait, what?

Two years ago, my brother, who is a math/computer science teacher, attended a GAFE (Google Apps for Education) Summit hosted by my district. Here I was, barely even aware that it was happening, yet my brother drove an hour and a half to attend. We met up for breakfast one day because he was in the area, but that was about the extent of that.

A few weeks later, we were both home for Thanksgiving break, and he set up this cool thing that he had heard about at the summit: a BreakoutEDU box. My sister, dad, & I all played Time Warp, and we had a blast! I liked the idea of using it in the classroom, but didn't really see it as realistic for music...or for the number of students I had in each class. It became a fun idea, tucked away in the back of my mind, that maybe I could pull out if I ever found myself in a situation that would fit.

Fast forward two years. 

My mind continued to stew on the idea of BreakoutEDU, and that summer, seeing the digital versions really drew me in. Creating my own games led me to get on Twitter, to develop a PLN, to begin this blog, and to dive into the ed tech world. From there, I started gamifying my classes, implementing genius hour projects, experiencing a pseudo-1:1 environment by hogging regularly checking out a Chromebook cart, getting more involved in my district's ed tech initiatives through applying for a cohort, and eventually landing in my current job as an ed tech specialist.

As I reflect, I can't help but feel grateful to so many people who influenced my journey without even knowing it. I'm thankful for the Ed Tech Team & the people in my district who brought the summit to Boulder, CO. I'm thankful to the BreakoutEDU folks for creating an engaging opportunity that was my first glimpse of why I should attend conferences like this. I'm thankful to my brother for sharing his learning! I'm thankful to the people who started BreakoutEDU Digital, which was my gateway drug to the world of PLNs & connecting with a global community. And I'm thankful for all of those who encouraged me along the way and let me step out, explore, and grow, even when that included some wins and some failures.

"Big things often have small beginnings."

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